The Bordeaux wine region is located in the southwest of France, with the city of Bordeaux as its business center. The success of Bordeaux are its geological foundation of limestone with a lot of calcium, the soil is composed of Gravel (left bank), sandy stone and clay (right bank) and the affluence of the Gironde river and its tributaries, the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers bringing with their waters an Oceanic influence.
These rivers define the areas where Bordeaux is made:
- The Right Bank: is located right of the Dordogne river close to the city of Libourne. The main grape here is Merlot and the most famous communes are St.Emilion and Pomerol.
- Entre-Deux-Mers: between two seas (meaning the rivers).
- The Left Bank: located on the left of the Garonne river and south of Bordeaux can be divided into 2 sub-regions: Graves and Medoc, the main grape is Cabernet Sauvignon and the most famous communes that produce First Growth Chateauxfrom the 1855 Classification are: Margaux, Paulliac, St. Estephe, St. Julien, Haut-Medoc and Pessac-Leognan the latter producing some quality Sauvignon Blanc blended with Semillon. South of Pessac-Leognan is Sauternes, famous for the botrytise wines made with Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscatelle
Burgundy’s prized vineyards stretch from the city of Auxerre in the north down to the city of Macon in the south. In Auxerre we find the wines of Chablis, made with the Chardonnaygrapes, moving south we traverse Irancy and its red wines and Saint Bris with Sauvignon Blancs.
While moving south we reach the place where the most sought-after and expensive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay based wines are made, the Cote D’Or, where in fact all of Burgundy Grand Cru vineyards except for Chablis Grand Cru are.
The Cote D’Or is divided in two main sub-regions, Cote de Nuits and Cote de Beaune, that stretch south for about 70 kilometers from Dijon to Dezize-le-Maranges. This is where we find “Village” wine in the lower part of the slopes and “Premier Cru” to “Grand Cru” as we move higher. The Cote de Nuits contains 24 of the 25 red (Pinot Noir) Grand Crus, while the Cote de Beaune has all of the white (Chardonnay) Grand Crus.
Cooked red fruit, rose petal and rosemary all stand out on the subtly complex nose. Viscous and rounded on the palate with a nice undercurrent of minerality. Some savory bitterness on the finish. The weight and ripeness of fruit here call for a rich mushroom risotto. W.M
German wines fall into a classification depending on their quality, from Tafelwein, Landwein, Qualitatswein Bestimmter Anbaugebeite (QbA) to Pradikatswein. QbA and Pradikatswein are then subdivided in Anbaugebiet (wine region), Bereich ( a small area inside the wine region “Anbaugebiet“), Grosslage ( vineyards inside the small area “Bereich“), and finally the Einzellage ( single vineyard, situated inside the “Grosslage”).
Of the 13 major wine regions (Anbaugebiete) the most important that produce most quality wines are: Mosel, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Pfalz, Nahe, Ahr. These 13 wine regions (Anbaugebiete) are divided into 39 districts (Bereiche) which are also divided into vineyard sites (Großlagen).
Grosses Gewachs wine of the Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) grape from volcanic soils in Germany’s Baden region. Serious intensity on the nose, remeniscent of red cherries and smoked meat. Rounded, smooth palate is dominated by a mineral undercurrent. This is a real wine of “terroir;” super earthy, persistent and very versatile at the table. W.M
Located between Sant’ Angelo in Colle and Castenuovo dell’Abate, on a plateau facing Val d’Orcia and Mount Amiata. In 1950, my great grandfather Zefiro fell in love with Montalcino and acquired the rural house dating back to the 1700s and the land surrounding it, and started to plant the first vines. Today, that tradition continues to live through my wife, my daughters and myself.
Life here flows in contact with nature among Brunello vineyards and centuries-old olive groves, and all aspects of cultivation are personally managed by my family. Here is where my family and I want to live: that is why respecting the environment is so important to us and only organic agriculture is practiced.
My aim is to continue to reduce human intervention on the vines, teaching my daughters that we want to live on an environmentally sustainable farm. As such, we are transitioning to farming biodynamically.
Grape fermentation starts spontaneously thanks to indigenous yeasts that are naturally present on the skin of the grapes; it takes place in concrete tanks, and lasts for 20-30 days. The wine then rests for 2-3 years in traditional oak barrels inside our underground cellar.
VARIETAL: 100% Sangiovese
FARMING: Certified organic, biodynamic principles used
WINEMAKING: Spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts; 20-30 days in cement tanks
AGING: 10 months in wood and cement, proportions vary depending on the vintage
TASTING NOTES: Brilliant ruby red color. Aromas of wild berries, licorice, leather, with elegant spicy notes. Continued flavors of berries with a dynamic palate and extended finish.
This is a beauty from one of the most highly regarded California Pinot Noir producers. Ripe and expressive, there is no shortage of sweet citrus and tropical fruit on the nose, which is fairly intense. Very focused. Some wood frames the fruit nicely and adds a polished feel on the palate. The attack’s initial richness gives way to a piercing acidity on the midpalate that makes this a wonderful food wine (and an affordable one at that). Paired very nicely with beef stew over egg noodles. Imagine that. W.M.
Become A Sommelier With This Great Course!
Books and courses summarized in a detailed description, sample questions and more ready for you to become a Certified Sommelier or a better wine connoisseur.
Elegant estate bottled Rhône blend by the Perrin family (of CDP’s Château de Beaucastel) from their Paso Robles property. Pale ruby with aromatics reminiscent of ripe raspberries, morello cherries and savory herbs. Concentrated and juicy at once with a silky mid palate and spicy finish.
William M. Sommelier and Editor @ sipnotes.org
Nearly pitch black at its core, this old vines Grenache brings a bouquet of cooked red berries, white pepper and crushed stone. Full and structured with a mouth-drying finish.
William M. @ sipnotes.org
Beautifully aged, mineral-laden Chardonnay from top growing site in Chablis. Meyer lemon, seashells and hay on the nose, round and soft on the palate with complex texture and excellent length.
William Marengo. Editor @ sipnotes.org